The Confederate Dead-Honor to Their Memory
June 1, 1866
Southerners praise the cause of the soldiers that they lost, describing them as "unselfish, pure, devoted and of great character." Richmond honors their fallen Confederate soldiers.
The name of one man or a thousand of men may be lost and forgotten, but we can separate the individual from the principles which he represented, and so give to him a permanent and lasting existence. Our soldiers who fell in the war were the incarnations of unselfishness, purity, and devotion. They did not stop to reason or argue, but did their duty honestly and fearlessly. The scanty ration, the tattered uniform, the shoeless feet, and the imperfect equipment, did not daunt their hearts ; they were as modest when fortune smiled upon their labors as when the future was dark with doubt and uncertainty. In remembering, then, our fallen soldiers, we can by our own actions and our own conduct show that we appreciated their sufferings and their endurance; and we can prove by the manner of our living that the sacrifice of their lives has not been in vain. Who can remember the fallen Confederate soldier and willing to trifle away his time in follies or indiscretions ; who will be willing to be a reproach to that south for which so many thousands died? Will not the pale, still face of the dead rise to rebuke us in the time of discouragement, teaching us patience and fortitude, honor and truth ; will not the mounds under which they sleep rise before our sight whenever we are tempted to do aught that is unbecoming to them or to ourselves? The truest monument that can be raised to our dead will be to stamp indelibly their virtues and their constancy upon the souls of the southern people! There is already enough of chivalrous feeling and instinctive honor in the south, but our young men especially need those qualities which the southern soldier so eminently possessed, and which are now, if possible, more venerable aud more near than ever before to every southern heart. Let us guide ourselves by the quiet trust, the conscientious attention to duty, the undoubting sense of right, and the unswerving belief in the eternal principles of truth and justice, which were the salient points in the character of the southern soldier, and the mindst.f our people will become so fortitied and strengthened that they will awaitl calmly what troubles may yet be before them, and assuredly in the end win their way back to an era of happiness, peace, and general good-will. And when the southern States shall be admired and honored for the virtue and patriotism of their people ; when they shall stand out unsullied and undegenerate among the corruptions of the age; when they shall be steadfast while all else of good and true is tottering to its base, men will ask "whence this constancy, this truth, this devotion ? Then will be the moment of triumph for our fallen soldiers ; then will an imperishable monument have been erected to their memory, as the reply is shouted forth with exultation, mingled with sadness: The merit is not ours; we have but emulated and striven to make our own the virtues of those brave and noble men who, long, long ago, fell in battle for the cause of their native , south.
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“The Confederate Dead-Honor to Their Memory,” Reconstructing Virginia, accessed December 2, 2021, https://reconstructingvirginia.richmond.edu/items/show/189.